Zoë Meijer: From Student to a Job at a big company.

As a CreaTe or Itech student, you might wonder where you'll end up when you're done with your studies. Zoë Meijer is an Alumnus of CreaTe and HMI, who has shared her story in getting from being a graduate to working in a big IT company.

From a selection of 500 applications, you win a national challenge for IT-talent. Zoë knows what to do with the prize. But an internship at Achmea? Eh, Why not. It all turns out nicely. So nice in fact that she sticks around and becomes an IT management Trainee. She had an important part in making the useful platform FinanceBook. Zoë’s colleague Henk Heek is very happy with her enthusiasm and ideas. He developed, together with Zoë and other colleagues, FinanceBook.
An Internship at Achmea. Zoë explains: “I was almost finished with my master’s in Human Media Interaction (now known as Interaction Technology) at the University of Twente. During my studies I had done some internships, but not at a big corporation. A great opportunity to get that experience. When I first heard about working at Achmea, I didn’t have a very clear view of what you could do for an insurance company as IT-er. However, the first impression was nice! I visited an inhouseday around Christmas. There was a big Christmas Tree in the hallway, it was all very cosy. During the inhouseday I saw a video about how Achmea identifies damage done to a greenhouse after a storm using Image-Recognition. An innovative way to apply IT to society. I quickly saw that most employees went to office dressed casually, something that I didn’t expect from a big company. A pleasant surprise. Achmea felt good. After winning the Internship at Achmea I never searched any further.

After the internship, continuing as an IT Management Trainee
The graduation period made a good impression on both Zoë and Achmea. Zoë stayed as an IT management Trainee. This means four assignments of each one half year. Zoë: “During the traineeship at Achmea, your first assignment is in your comfort zone. For me, that was no different. So, I went deeper into the subject of innovation and saving for your retirement for Millennials. After that, a colleague came to me with a good idea. Together with some more enthusiastic colleagues, we used the ‘lean-startup method’ to conceptualize FinanceBook. ”

And the ball started rolling…
Henk Heek, Innovation manager at Achmea: “FinanceBook is based on three behavioral traits. People think from the present and want a quick, good experience from a trusted social environment, like your employer. Through real-time insight in all your finances, you can take away financial stress and increase agility in only 10 minutes. Beside the insight, diverse ‘what-if buttons’ help you make decisions in different scenarios; like getting fired, changing jobs, an earlier retirement or having a child. It makes you think and encourages further action.” FinanceBook is a sturdy program. Zoë: “Via DigID you get your data from the Belastingdienst, the UWV and the National Retirement Register. It also links with NIBUD-data to estimate your personal expenses.”

Now on sale
Achmea sells the tool to employers. Henk: “They then offer it as a service to their employees. Often from the perspective of sustainable employability. In our opinion, a very smart and decent way. From a trusted environment, in which the employer doesn’t only pay but also activates the employee to work with the tool. It’s a nice way to keep your people financially fit. So definitely not a trick to sell insurances or other financial products. From testing, we saw that the employee doesn’t experience it that way, at most at a later stadium when there is demand for it. We, as Achmea, have, after all, very good products and services for a fair prize. But then very clearly from a nice pull, instead of an obtrusive push.”

Out of your comfort zone
Henk is now further developing FinanceBook with others. Zoë continued with her second assignment of her traineeship after half a year. At the Emergency Response Team of Achmea IT; let’s call it the IT fire brigade of Achmea. When there is a big IT malfunction, this team will work to fix the malfunction quickly and efficiently. Apart from that, this team works hard on the prevention of big IT malfunctions. “Running” the Achmea IT-organisation is not just innovation. Zoë: “You always get the challenge to choose an assignment out of your comfort zone. That might come from the assignment itself, or from its environment, but never both. When something goes wrong, you really see why it is so important to develop IT so carefully. The result is that you cannot develop as quickly as you would like, within an innovative environment. For me, the traineeship really gave me the chance to see the other side of IT. Apart from that, I learned a lot from the peace and tranquility of the colleges in this kind of work, even during big problems.”

Win win
That variation is the great part of the traineeship. “In 2 years you learn about multiple parts of the company and you get to know a lot of people. I have seen a lot of Achmea through the traineeship. You also get a lot of working experience through it. You work on craftsmanship, in situations you find hard, but also in political and non-political environments. Within a big company such as Achmea, you also find a lot of different working environments. It’s very useful, you learn about it all”, explains Zoë. “But Achmea also learns from it, don’t forget about that”, says Henk. “That is why Achmea is looking for talented people. We love colleges like Zoë. Driven and enthusiastic. With a lot of energy. We like to look and listen to those people. And we listen to each other. FinanceBook is a proof of that. So it’s a win win.

“And you also get to know yourself better”
Meanwhile, Zoë is already done with her traineeship for almost a year. She’s currently working with great pleasure as IT change manager Innovation at the Pension and Life Insurance-part of Achmea. Zoë: “I know for sure that the accelerated working experience through the traineeship helped me to do my current job well. During the traineeship you also learn a lot about your life experience through the personal development programme “Inspira”. I got to know myself better. I always worked on enthusiasm. In my projects, I wanted everyone in. If that didn’t work out, I would start to work even harder. Or that time when I got hit on my bike. I wasn’t fit the next day, but still went to work. Through those situations, I got to know my own boundaries. Because I’m pregnant, those boundaries are especially important, haha. I just know better what I do and why. I think that I’ve become a nicer Zoë through that.” “Oh, I know for sure!”, says Henk...